Public Speaking and Fear:
Public speaking is one of the most feared situations in the world. It is often ranked feared more than death. Yet, in schools and life, people are thrown into public speaking situations without much preparation. It can bring out anxiety and intense feelings of fears of failure. High school and college students I treat report dread and avoidance with speaking. I hear reports of people paralyzed with headaches, stomach ailments and at times bed ridden. Parents call crying that their children will not go to school and are vomiting. What advice can we give people afraid of speaking? Many I treat stutter but others are speak fluently.
A Fearful experience public speaking:
Let me share a story with you…Back in graduate school I had to give a presentation to the community on speech and language development in children. I had never even raised my hand in a group to ask a question ,let alone give a presentation to strangers. What would I do? I felt the anxiety build. The fear in my chest grew daily and I wanted to hide. Millions of negative thoughts crossed my mind. All I can tell you is that I showed up unprepared, filled with anxiety, white as a ghost, and silent. I would not talk to anyone in my classroom for fear of stuttering. No one showed up from the community that night. I went home relieved but with shame traveling throughout my body. The questions filled my soul. How was I going to speak in front of anyone? How would I speak in a meeting? I crept into my bed and stared aimlessly at the ceiling. The good news I never gave up.
Thirty years later:
I felt blocked even after I started my private practice. The inability to spread speech and language awareness was my passion and I could not reach out to the public and speak. This had to change.
Three tips to overcome fear of speaking whether you stutter or not..
What did I do?
I started visualizing success. I envisioned the satisfied faces.
I took three deep breathes and practiced before.
I started off small. I went to toastmasters and desensitized myself to saying my name.
I now give three hour presentations. Believe in yourself. If I can help you please email me at Lori@allislandspeech.com